ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Kyle Lohse allowed an unearned run in seven innings for his seventh straight win and Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBIs in the St. Louis Cardinals' 7-1 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.
Chris Duncan added a two-run homer, his first since May 16, and Aaron Miles had three hits while extending his hitting streak to 12 games.
The Cardinals won the opener of a four-game series against a team that's dominated them lately - at least in the regular season. They won the 2006 World Series after upsetting the Mets in a seven-game NLCS, but had lost eight of the previous 10 regular-season meetings.
John Maine (8-6) lasted only four innings to match his season worst for the Mets, who have lost three of four and dropped the opener of an eight-game trip against the Central-contending Cardinals and NL East-leading Phillies.
This is the Mets' first trip to St. Louis since they opened the 2007 season with a three-game sweep, outscoring the defending champs 20-2.
Mark Mulder got the last three outs, making the first relief appearance of his career in his 2008 debut. He missed most of the previous two seasons with a shoulder injury. Throwing from a lower arm angle after problems cut short one rehab assignment earlier in the year, he allowed two hits with a strikeout.
Lohse (10-2) allowed five hits against a lineup loaded with hitters with big career numbers against him, striking out four and walking two. Carlos Beltran, 15-for-29 with four homers and 11 RBIs entering the game, had a single and walk in three trips. Carlos Delgado (7-for-13 with three homers) was 0-for-2 with a hit by pitch and a rare double-play ball in the sixth, with third baseman Troy Glaus handling the relay in an overshifted defense.
Lohse reached double figures in victories for the first time since 2003, also his last winning record when he was 14-11 for the Twins. He's won seven of eight starts with a 2.44 ERA since May 24, the no-decision coming in his last outing when he surrendered five runs on 11 hits in four innings at Detroit.
The winning streak matches his career best from July 25, 2007, to May 3, 2008, and he's 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in four starts against NL East teams.
Duncan hit 21 homers in 2007, a season shortened by a sports hernia, and has struggled to regain his power stroke all year to the point that the Cardinals demoted him to Triple-A Memphis for 11 days in late May. He had been 11-for-56 with three RBIs before homering just inside the right-field foul pole and over the fence off Carlos Muniz for a 7-1 lead in the fifth.
Maine started slowly, allowing two singles and two walks to the first four batters in a two-run first, and never picked up any steam, although two of the five runs against him were unearned.
Skip Schumaker's routine two-out grounder trickled between second baseman Luis Castillo's legs to allow a run in the second. Third baseman David Wright's wild throw to first on Miles' infield hit in the fourth also was costly.
Miles, who singled three times and is 23-for-53 (.434) during his streak, scored on Pujols' second RBI single for a 5-0 lead. Pujols is 9-for-19 with five RBIs in five games since coming off the disabled list from a calf injury.